Where Concierge CIO / CTO Management Solutions and Managed IT Solutions merged together to create a unique solution that protects and drives revenue.
So if you are a small-medium business (SMB), you don’t have the budget to hire a Chief Information Officer or Chief Technology Officer to your staff. Even though SMB need the help when it comes to their IT department, they either can’t afford it, or the business owner or executive does not have the time to truly focus on the slew of IT issues, planning and growing concerns. This can be an overwhelming for a SMB. According to Glassdoor, the average salary for a CIO is $157,934 - $211,293. Salary.com puts the average salary range at $213,546 - $317,012. And if you add benefits, a median salary of $259,672.00 becomes when loaded with benefits: $395,085.00 for a CIO/CTO. SMB cannot afford this! The solution is a Concierge CIO blended with Managed IT solutions.
The Concierge CIO solution should collaborate with and advise with you and should perform the same functions as a conventional CIO. Those duties include formulating strategic IT goals, creating Technology Plans, Policy & Procedures to protect the business, planning the IT budget, implementing cyber security essentials, analyzing and reworking business processes and facilitating technology changes. The Concierge CIO should help you maintain your IT infrastructure, secure all of your IT business assets but should also deliver onward looking services.
For example, a Concierge CIO should work with you to plan an IT strategy roadmap, categorize opportunities to use innovative technology within your business. If you are deficiency internally of an IT department or you have an inadequate IT staff, you may allow wider decision-making authority and technology deployment responsibilities to the Concierge CIO. The main focus of the Concierge CIO in functionality is to provide other technical advisory services and take a broader management view of your needs, focusing on business and IT alignment.
Qualities to look for in a Concierge CIO include:
- + The ability to link IT systems to business objectives
- + Can guide business owners or executive through elements like cyber security, available managed IT solutions and overall have the businesses interest at heart, and not their own pocketbook.
- + A knowledge of technology trends likely to impact the customer
- + A firm grasp of IT project planning and management
- + Experience in the IT budgeting process
- + Experience in vendor management
Now what does this cost? Well pricing structures vary, but a CIO service generally charges according to either an hourly rate or a flat fee. The flat fee is defined as a monthly payment for the CIO's services. The flat-fee approach resembles the managed services provider (MSP) model and, undeniably some MSPs do offer CIO services. POWERNET America does this and offers a unique proposition. They offer a retainer level service, because they values the relationship, more than the sale. In addition, a Concierge CIO should provide affordable services to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), which typically aren't able to afford a traditional CIO's compensation package.
The Concierge CIO should provide cost-avoidance benefits to you by offering Managed IT solutions on an hourly-rate basis, which becomes an "on demand" capability and a variable cost. This approach is usually less expensive than paying for a full-time CIO's and his full staff’s salary and benefits. When the service provider offers a flat rate or a retainer, the CIO function may be bundled within a broader managed IT services plan instead of existing as a separate budget item.
Time is Money and Saving Money is the key
Now that we have introduced a Concierge CIO, we will tackle the secret to enabling IT to work more strategically. The answer is Managed IT services, a cost-effective way to extend SMB IT talent and free-up trained resources to achieve organizational objectives.
Managed IT services can deliver an extensive diversity of proficiencies, ranging from Cyber Security, Computing, Storage, Web Services, Application & Web Development, Networking Management, Mobility Management, Hosting & Cloud Solutions, Email and Unified communications, including many other IT services. The collective theme is along with the proficiencies themselves, and top service providers also offer continuous management, in the form of a Concierge CIO and also maintenance of the underlying infrastructure and end-user care.
The fact is that US companies devote $162 billion on Managed IT services, with SMBs being among the best customers. This dissipates the concept that Managed IT services are too costly or too complicated for SMBs to contemplate. After a 30+ years in the IT world, I’ve seen firsthand that the opposite is true for startups and established small businesses alike. Keep in mind, that an effective Managed IT solution typically gives seven key benefits:
- + Improved Operational Performance
- + Implements Effective Security Measures
- + Provides Solutions to improve business process
- + Implements Effective Policy & Procedures to Reduced Operational Risk
- + Provide Guidance to Executive Management
- + Implement Cost Avoidance to Ensure Growth
- + Accelerated Innovation.
In combining a managed IT solution with a Concierge CIO Solution, you get focused management attention to detail from the Executive level, and the cost saving solution of Managed IT services, but how can SMB owner or executive be sure a particular service provider is right for their company? The best way to determine this is to consider these five important criteria.
- Choose an IT firm that focuses primarily on your business. Each company is unique, and so are its business challenges and opportunities. Potential providers must understand each SMB’s goals rather than offer a cookie-cutter service plan for all clients. At POWERNET, we first determine your needs, then provide a solution to the business’s needs.
- Look for an IT firm that values long-term relationships. A trusted adviser will help create an ongoing technology roadmap tuned to keeping a client focused on staying successful and competitive as market conditions change. This is why POWERNET focus’ on the retainer, rather than the single project, we want you understand we will hopefully build a relationship, not a sale.
- Assess the provider’s breadth of offerings. A comprehensive service portfolio means SMBs can fulfill their needs from a single provider rather than having to manage multiple and potentially conflicting vendors. At POWERNET, we can provide all of your IT needs, because we have partnerships that help fulfill the need. We focus on bringing you the best and brightest subject matter experts (SME) to make your business efficient and safe.
- Address existing technology pain points. Discuss in detail particularly important problems, such as areas where outages have occurred in the past or security vulnerabilities. Then get potential partners to deliver a detailed solution tailored to these specific issues. This is paramount to the success of the business to eliminate pain points. It will allow the executive team understand that the firm focuses on them. It usually is the first element in the relationship of an IT solution provider.
- Insist on close communications. Determine how often the provider will present formal reviews and data to show the effectiveness of the engagement. This should happen each quarter at a minimum; informal meetings with account managers should take place more frequently.
So once you have found that firm to provide you with the services, make sure your Concierge CIO is talking to you on a weekly basis, and also getting communication from the Managed IT services, so together you can keep them accountable. However, keep in mind this is your business, not the Concierge CIO’s, so you make the final decisions!
If you have a small IT staff, remember that your technology staff is usually squarely focused on tactical issues. With constricted finances, a titanic registration of projects and a host of responsibilities, very little time or energy is accessible for strategic planning. In light of today’s market burdens, government and industry regulations and an ever-growing cyber security threat, it is acutely clear that SMBs it is essential to have a decent IT strategy than are their larger counterparts. SMBs essentially must have a subject matter expert (SME) in technology like a Concierge CIO who understands the company’s organizations objectives and can deliver a roadmap in how to use your technology to sustenance those goals. Essentially someone who can fulfill the role that a CIO would play in a larger organization.
Your Concierge CIO must rapidly assimilate your organizations information, assess your technology in place and ensure that risks are identified and mitigated. Even harder yet, your Concierge CIO must also convince your executives or you the owner, that their challenges are manageable and that there are solutions and methodologies that are cost-effective and opportune, and that will grow with your business. This might be a Managed IT Solution!
Finally, your Concierge CIO will need the same level of trust that would be bestowed upon an influential insider, even though Concierge CIO is not actually a member of your staff. This is why a long term relationship is almost a required element. This is crucial, given that much of the work of your Concierge CIO happens either remotely or at the very least on a part-time basis and sometimes without the benefit of daily face-to-face interaction. At POWERNET, we actually have scheduled times for weekly face-to-face interaction, because the relationship is too important!
In fact this year, I completed several projects which has defined POWERNET’s position in how we want to serve our clients. One comes to mind, Harris Home for Children. We are working with them on a weekly basis to rebuild their entire network infrastructure, because as a non-profit it was pieced together like Frankenstein. We provide both a Concierge CIO & a Managed IT Solution. We have started the process of implementing a Technology Plan, with policies & procedures, and we are working to improve the network and its connectability, as well as refreshing systems to Windows 7, so we can prepare them for Windows 10 before the expiration of the Microsoft free upgrade period. We will be rebuilding a more secure email solution, and a whole lot of other solutions, but as you can see it is a long term relationship.
So you see as these two services merge, it provides a much better solution. At POWERNET, we have had the pleasure of delving into new industries and showing business owners and executives the ways in which my knowledge of other industries can be leveraged to resolve their own challenges. This may be helping them to hire the right internal technology staff, solve a pain point or train for their existing staff. And it almost always includes managing project teams, developing detailed project plans, written operational or cyber security policies and procedures, the suggestion of the use of key technologies and providing business guidance. Remember that there are some important things to keep in mind hiring a Concierge CIO and about both your business and technology:
- - A Concierge CIO is not focused purely a technology. Those who search for technology-only challenges should take another path. The firm should focus on both technology AND business.
- - The Concierge CIO needs to be competent and convincing because much, if not all, of the work they do for you will be done remotely. Trust is essential. It needs to be a long-term relationship.
- - Since many SMBs want to use technology, but lack the necessary guidance to do so. If you find a good Concierge CIO who can provide Managed IT Solutions and brings value for your business and help you navigate the maze of technology options, you as the business owner or executive will be highly appreciative.
- - Technology is most useful in the context of getting things done. There is remarkable gratification to be had in providing the right mix of technology and process to solve your pressing organizational needs.
Today’s SMBs deserve the same access to effective technology strategy that larger companies rely on. Thankfully, this no longer inescapably means hiring a full-time, onsite CIO. While much of my work may be conducted virtually or in a part-time basis, the results are always very real.
POWERNET America provides both Concierge CIO Management and Managed IT Solutions that can be incorporated within your management team to assist in the growth your organization, provide Managed IT solutions to modernize your processes and provide a strategy for whatever’s in the future. If you see the importance in growing your organizations productivity and want to look at an efficient model that decreases overhead? To learn more about POWERNET America’s Concierge CIO Management and Managed IT Solutions today, contact POWERNET today or fill the form out below!